I wanted to paint a mental picture of a moment in my life before I found recovery. Describe a memory so you can feel what this moment was like and really picture it for yourself. But, the reality of the situation is that the memory I wanted to expose happened many times, and when I repeated these moments I was always too intoxicated to remember much of what happened. If I remembered some of them at all. But, there are bits and pieces I can recall, and I was given the opportunity to reflect on them and compare these glimpses of the past to my life today.
I cleaned my room recently. Sounds mundane, but, I haven't been in a great habit of keeping my living space organized. I'd tidy up here and there, but I've been much more consistent at neglecting my sacred space of rest for excuses I disguised as reasons..just to make myself feel better about, for lack of a better term, being lazy. I liked to take pride in how much I worked or kept myself busy throughout the day to a degree that I'd be okay leaving my mess there to take care of on an imaginary day that I "had time". This had to change.
“If you aren’t moving forward in your life there is some idea, mode of action, or habit you’re so in love with you won’t let go of it.” -Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
Sometime this last summer I saw a short video of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson describing some habits to change if you'd like to change your life. He's a pretty smart guy and his list was longer than I have time to blog about today. But, a good amount of this list consisted of things I was actively working on in my life. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Treat yourself like someone you're responsible for helping. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today. Et cetera. One of the things he's spoken about doing is cleaning your living space, maintaining it, and even decorating it, explaining that your living space is a direct reflection of your head space. I'd look up Dr. Peterson's teachings if I were you, he's a very wise man.
I have struggled with depression for a long time, getting pretty good control over it since finding long-term recovery, but it just seems to creep up on me every once and a while. I finally caved in and decided to give Dr. Peterson's room cleaning advice a chance, after putting it off for months. There were other motives, but that was a big one. This sent me on a Sunday afternoon adventure of tidying, cleaning, and re-organizing my room. And man-o-man..I did not expect the reflective journey I went on in this process. I not only found a lost suicide note I had written during one of the darkest times of my life, but I also found a broken piece of a chair I had fallen on during one of my blacked-out nights of drowning my sorrows (over three years ago), and then a broken piece of my light switch that came about in a very similar way. These are the shadowy memories I mentioned at the top.
“Can you imagine yourself in 10 years if instead of avoiding the things you know you should do, you actually did them every single day—that’s powerful.” -Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
I immediately went into the headspace of "those times are behind me, I don't need these memories right now". But with a gentle nudge from my Higher Power, I realized that through this exercise of trying to organize, not only my physical space but my mind space as well, I was being reminded of the man I was and showed how far I've come working on the man I want to be. This moment of reflection gave me the ambition to take this new practice of keeping my living space as organized as I'd like my mind to be to the distance. This set of micro-events renewed my determination to continue my progression of recovery. Not only recovering from my challenges with substance use disorder but in every aspect I've been trying to heal in my life.
This all came about because I finally took the small step of cleaning my room. I am indescribably grateful that my life in recovery has given me the self-awareness to decipher these little messages my Higher Power gives me in the details of what some people could consider mundane tasks. Thank you Dr. Peterson for the shared wisdom and thank you Higher Power for the lessons. For those of you close to me...Yes, my car is next.
Until next time...